Winner: Iceland Food Warehouse, Speke
Store manager: Dan Lemont
Size: 8,500 sq ft
Grocery spend: £8,261,286
Spend by household: £58
Nearest rivals: Asda 0.6 miles, Co-op 0.7 miles, M&S 0.7 miles, Morrisons 1 mile, Iceland 1 mile, Tesco 1.5 miles, Aldi 1.5 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.8 miles, Lidl 4.8 miles, Waitrose 10.9 miles
Source: CACI. For more info visit www.caci.co.uk/contact.
Notes: Shopper profiling is measured using Grocery Acorn shopper segmentation. Store catchment data (market share, population, expenditure, spend by household, competition) is within a five-mile radius. For CACI’s shopper segmentation of the other stores we visited this week see our service & availability report.
What was your first job in retail? I became a night shift colleague for Sainsbury’s when I was 18, about 12 years ago, and worked for Sainsbury’s for seven years. I left as online operations manager, looking after home deliveries in North Wales, and moved to Iceland to open the Elsmere Port Food Warehouse. I’ve been at Speke since November.
That online experience at Sainsbury’s must have proved useful for the expansion of Iceland’s delivery services in the pandemic. It’s helped massively. Online has gone massive at The Food Warehouse in the last couple of years. With Iceland’s launch of same-day delivery [last year], that’s gone off massively too, meaning I need online picking all day.
Our mystery shopper was very impressed with the service in your store. How do you motivate staff? The big thing for me is making people understand their value. Some people might think ‘you only work in a shop’. But if you get people to really understand what they do and have pride in their job – tell them ‘you are in charge of this and this is what I want to see’. For example, I’ve got one colleague who only just joined us in December but she absolutely loves working fresh food because we’ve given her some ownership.
Do you think the important role shopworkers have played during the pandemic has helped in that respect? I think so. There was pressure at the start but now it’s normalising and that pride is really coming through.
How have absence rates been in the Omicron outbreak? Christmas was really tough, when we had six people off out of about 30 in the busiest week of the year. It’s not so much just been people testing positive, but the isolation period. Now it’s five days, it’s a much quicker turnaround.
How have you dealt with that challenge? It’s probably made me better at my job because I’ve had to teach people to do more things, which also gives them another string to their bow. The job isn’t the same every day anymore, you’ve got to adapt.
Has availability of Covid tests been an issue? Just prior to Christmas it was PCR availability. The drive-in centres didn’t have the capacity at that time so you had to order home kits. It can be a couple of days for them to arrive and a couple to get a result back, so that’s four days.
Your store also scored really well on availability. How do you keep that up? In store, it’s about sticking to the process. We scan our lows, work the stock and count it as we work it, so we maintain a really good inventory. The system knows how much we need to maintain a forecast, so as long as I keep my guys on top of it, then if it says we’ve got 10, we have got 10. It’s also there ready and waiting when the pickers start work at 4am.
What’s your point of difference from an Iceland core store? We have a bigger range and cater to a slightly different customer. We’re a bit more family-based. We’re a bit younger, and have bigger baskets, because we’ve got bigger packs.
What’s happening to shopping habits at the moment? We’re moving back to almost pre-pandemic. The weekends are getting really big again, I imagine as people are returning to work, and we have noticed slightly bigger basket sizes.